Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Faith Creeps In

This week's readings in the Lectionary are: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43, and Matthew 3:13-17. I hope you'll read along!

According to the liturgical calendar, we are now in the season of Epiphany. I am familiar with Advent, and of course Christmas, but I didn't know much about Epiphany. I wanted to understand the significance better, so I looked it up.

Basically, Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of God in human form through Jesus and focuses on the ways that Jesus was revealed to both the Jewish people and the Gentiles. (I'm sure there's much more to it that some readers could explain, but these seemed to me as though they were the major points. Readers, feel free to further elaborate in the comments!)

Epiphany will last until Lent begins in March. I'm excited to spend the next several weeks focusing specifically on God in human flesh-- and actually, I've done a bit of that already in my Christmas posts!

Isaiah 42:5 paints a beautiful image of God as the creator and giver of life, "who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it." Furthermore, Psalm 29 specifically describes God's glory, strength, power, majesty, and holiness. This God-- this holy, powerful God-- chose to humble himself and come to us in human form through Jesus. God's spirit rested upon him, and anyone at all can be redeemed, regardless of who they are or what they have done.

Isn't that amazing?

However, since this is my blog, I'm gonna be really honest. As amazing as it is, it can also be hard to believe sometimes. Please don't misunderstand me here. My heart fully believes it to be true, but occasionally I have doubts. I think most people have this struggle at times, if they are being honest with themselves.

I told my brother recently that I have a faith crisis every six months or so. And honestly, that's pretty accurate. I wake up one morning and reflect on my beliefs, and all of a sudden I find myself thinking, "Whoa! That sounds crazy. What if it's not even true and I'm just nuts?"

Unfortunately, many times the church shuts people down when they express their doubts and questions. It is as though there is something to be feared about doubt; as if doubts will inevitably lead to renunciation of faith.

Actually, in my experience, my doubts and questions have always led me to a deeper faith.

When doubts creep in, so does faith. It's a hard answer sometimes, because of course some tangible, undeniable proof would be nice. But there is an element of faith that involves the things we cannot prove. For me, my heart just feels it and knows it to be true, even when it doesn't always make perfect sense in my head. And I have come to a point where I am okay with this supposed contradiction.

Yes, I do believe God came in the flesh. I believe he humbled himself to our level to make a way because he loves us. I believe in forgiveness, unmerited grace, redemption, and love. Even if it doesn't always make sense, my heart believes it to be true.

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